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In split vote, commissioners agree to fund SROs in schools in city

Henderson County commissioners voted to appropriate $205,460 to help pay for city police officers who serve as school resource officers at four public schools in the city limits but not before two commissioners expressed misgivings and voted no.

Commissioner Michael Edney introduced the proposed appropriation by saying he had had “a change of heart” on whether the county should grant the Hendersonville City Council’s request to pay for SROs at Bruce Drysdale Elementary School and Hendersonville elementary, middle and high schools.
“It seems to me it’s time that we show good faith, a tangible token of working together in another area,” he said.
Edney said that he had previously taken the position that SROs in all 22 public schools ought to come under the sheriff’s office.
“That being said, the School Board has taken the position that they want the city of Hendersonville police department to provide that function within the city limits,” he said. “It’s still in my mind the county’s obligation financially.”
It's not clear that the School Board has ever taken a position favoring city police officers over sheriff’s deputies as SROs. A few minutes Edney’s comment, schools Superintendent John Bryant said he was not aware that the School Board had ever taken a formal position on the issue.
Sheriff Lowell Griffin said SROs from his agency and the city police department work well together.
“We’ve got a good relationship with the city of Hendersonville,” he said. “I think our SROs communicate and they work really well together. it’s not just about working together it’s about finding that right SRO that fits school because they actually become part of the culture at that school. What’s done at East may not be exactly what’s done at West.”
Commissioners David Hill and Daniel Andreotta voted no.
Hill said he worried that under the arrangement the Board of Commissioners would be funding the city police officers without having any oversight of their performance. “I’d like to have the sheriff to have a say,” he said.
Andreotta made similar points.
“This plan would not have an exit,” he said. “County schools, county property, county money — to me that lines up to county law enforcement. … We’re funding part of it and have very little say.”
Edney's motion to grant the $205,000 made it a one-time appropriation, meaning there’s no guarantee that commissioners will fund the city SROs next year.